Opera [Latin]. Tr: Marsilius Ficinus.

Autore PLATO (428/423-348/347 BC).
Tipografo Bernardinus de Choris de Cremona and Simon de Luere for Andrea Torresanus
Dati tipografici Venezia, 
Prezzo Venduto/Sold
Opera

Folio (307x209 mm). Collation: a4, a-o8, p-q10, r-z8, A-d8, E-F10, G-Z8, AA-FF8, GG-HH10. 448 leaves (numbered 1-444). Text in two columns, 62-63 lines. Type: 103G, 74G, 83R (capitals only), 80 (74)Gk. Blank spaces for capitals, with printed guide letters. Contemporary blind-tooled calf, over wooden boards, possibly executed in Rome. Covers within three concentric borders, decorated with floral motifs or knotwork elements; in the centre the late monogram ‘yhs' stamped in gilt. Traces of clasps. Flyleaves from a medieval vellum manuscript. Edges speckled red, early inked title on the fore-edge. Spine lacking, covers slightly abraded, the upper outer corner of the upper cover damaged. A good copy, slight worming at beginning and end, some waterstaining, mostly to margins, heavier towards end and intruding on text block. A few early annotations in Latin on the paper flyleaves.

Provenance: ‘Hic liber est martis [?] Castellani Menicutij Cum Sua Pro Licentia'(early sixteenth-century ownership inscription on the rear paper flyleaf).

SECOND EDITION of Plato's works, translated by the renowned Florentine philosopher Marsilio Ficino (1433-1499), first published in Florence in 1484-1485 by Lorenzo de Alopa, and dedicated to Lorenzo de' Medici. Ficino began his translation in 1463, on the basis of a Greek manuscript received by Cosimo de' Medici and containing all Plato's dialogues. The translation of the thirty-six dialogues was completed by 1468 and 1469, and during the 1470s Ficino continued to revise his work and to expand his commentaries on Plato, whom he called the ‘Doctor of Souls'. The publication represents the most important Renaissance interpretation of Plato, and a landmark in the renovatio of Platonism, interpreted by Ficino as a philosophy which heals the diseases of the soul and may conduces to human salvation.

Ficino made a particular effort to ensure the typographical correctness of his Platonis opera omnia, which in 1484 contained an errata list of twenty-six pages. In 1491 a second edition of the Platonic corpus appeared, in which several printing errors were corrected. The texts are introduced, likewise in 1484, by his Life of Plato, composed in 1477, and as a novelty supplemented with the text of the Platonica theologia de immortalitate animorum, by Ficino himself.

The volume was issued from the printing house established in Venice by Bernardino de Choris (di Cuori) from Cremona, who worked in partnership with Simon de Luere from August 1489 to December 1490, and again in August and November 1491. Dibdin records a copy in the Bibliotheca Spenceriana bearing the colophon ‘Impressum Venetijs per Simonem Richardum de Luero. 13. Augusti. 1491', without the mention of de Choris.

“At the same time this partnership, which produced only one book of other than classical interest, seems to have been looser than Proctor's subdivisions of De Choris's work suggest, since one book signed by the latter alone on 28 August, 1489, and at least two others in the earlier part of 1491 must be intercalated within its extreme dates, while, if we can trust Dibdin's record of a variant colophon in a copy of the fine edition of Ficino's Latin Plato printed by the associates for Torresanus in the same year [...] part of this impression was reserved by Simon for his own profit. The large number of founts – not less than a dozen in twenty books – employed by the firm is noticeable” (BMC v, pp. xli-xlii).

HC 13063*; GW M33918; BMC v, 465; IGI 7861; Goff P-772; Flodr Plato, 3; J. Hankins, Plato in the Italian Renaissance, Leiden-New York-Köln 1994, 742.8; J. Monfasani, “For the History of Marsilio Ficino's Translation of Plato: the Revision Mistakenly Attributed to Ambrogio Flandino, Simon Grynaeus' Revision of 1532, and the Anonymous Revision of 1556/1557”, Idem, Language and Learning in Renaissance Italy, Aldershot 1994, pp. 293-299.

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